With the increasingly global nature of the supply chain in today’s business marketplace, and the accompanying skills that modern Chief Procurement and Supply Chain Officers need to learn, it’s easy to forget the importance of one of the most basic‑but vital—skills out there: effective negotiation. Learning to negotiate well takes time and practice, but here are five concepts to get you started—or refresh your memory!
Know what are you there to accomplish
To begin a productive negotiating experience, you need to know both your objectives and your desired outcome. So begin at the beginning: develop a thorough understanding of your department’s mission or that of your entire company. Create a goal or set of goals that advance the long-term interests of your team or company. Once you understand your mission, tailor your objectives and negotiating strategy accordingly.
Know what the other side is there to accomplish
The key to determining your best approach to any negotiation is understanding the mission and short-term goals of the person or people on the other side of the table. What do they want from the deal? What don’t they want? If you’re not clear on the goals of both sides, you’re not likely to facilitate an agreement and may even offense someone. Do a little strategic research to help get you closer to closing the deal.
Be a straight shooter.
Too often in modern negotiations, one side or the other conceals information or practices deceit to gain a competitive advantage. Sure, this may work in the short term, but eventually such tactics will catch up with you and you’ll gain a reputation for being untrustworthy. You may even increase your odds of a fraudulent inducement claim. So be honest and deal with others in good faith, and you’ll be more likely to establish a productive, long-term business partnership.
Create a win-win situation.
Winning a negotiation doesn’t mean your opponent gets nothing. One of the best ways to reach a deal is to make sure both sides benefit from it. Think about what benefits your counterparty will receive from what you have to offer. You can work to increase your own leverage on the points that matter most, but a deal that is too one-sided will most likely not work well in the end.
Make sure there is a mechanism in place to evaluate the performance of both parties following the deal being made. This should include performance standards, payment terms, and other rules. This way everyone’s expectations are aligned and conversations about the relationship going forward can be more objective.
Is there anything we missed? Share your tips and suggestions for more powerful, effective negotiations below!